Self Care has become a buzz phrase; you might see someone’s photo on Instagram of a spa break with the hashtag #selfcare. Or there may be an article on your Facebook feed all about some hard core mediation to get your self care on top form. Whatever it is, it is a phrase that is used an awful lot now but what does it really mean?
Self care can often be misunderstood, it can seem like unless we are half a day into a spa break or sunbathing on a tropical island somewhere that self care just can’t be achieved but actually it can. It can because it is about you. It is about what every individual needs to keep their health…healthy! We aren’t just looking at physical health here either, we need to think about out mental and emotional health too. Self care is about setting your own boundaries and recognising your own needs.
I suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder and self care is something that has had to become part of the To Do list I write every week. I can’t afford to let it slip because if I do then everything else slips too. After some much needed therapy I realised that I was putting myself so far down the list of priorities that I was falling off it; I constantly told people that I hadn’t got time to do anything for me. I was wrong. There is always time. I didn’t need to block out a day every month to get to that spa break, I just needed half an hour every week to do something for me, to check on myself and to keep me feeling good.
So how do I do it? It’s easy really. I pay attention to me and I work out where I am feeling low. It could be my physical health; I might have been having a bad week with my eating habits. It could be my mental health and my anxiety could be playing up. Or it could even be my emotional health. By looking at the areas of me that need work I can then choose the sort of self care I need.
The self care exercises are simple. Healthy eating and a 10 minute workout every day help to boost my mood. A long shower can make me feel special. Journaling can take my thoughts and feelings out of my mind and calm me down. Reading a book is something I love so sometimes I choose to do that. Spending time with friends can help boost my emotional feelings. There are so many things I can do to look after me. And if I’m not looking after me then how can I look after my family?
Self care isn’t about spa days or beaches (although if that works for you and you have time, do it!) it is about allowing yourself time to relax, allowing yourself the time in your busy schedule to do something for you and about accepting that you deserve that time.
Choosing my own self care has been a huge stepping stone in my recovery from my mental health problems and it could really help you too.
What would you choose to do in your self care time?